Chandigarh: The ongoing war of words between Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh took a curious turn today.
Amarinder released a letter purportedly written by Harchand Singh Longowal to RK Dhawan, a former personal secretary to then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, a few weeks before Operation Bluestar.
Referring to the letter dated April 25, 1984, Amarinder asked Badal to make it clear whether he was individually involved in talks with the Union Government during the build-up to Operation Bluestar.
The letter says: “You know Gurcharn Singh’s (Tohra) life is in great danger, so I am writing to you. Jarnail Singh (Bhindranwale) is not going to give up and I strongly feel we have to do what we planned earlier and Parkash Singh Badal has already explained it to you in detail. Most Bhindranwale’s men will run away when they see the Army and most probably he, too, will.”
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has denied the charge that Badal had any secret meeting with Indira Gandhi before Operation Bluestar as suggested by Amarinder Singh.
Party spokesman said though Badal had met Indira Gandhi in Delhi, but it was several months before Operation Bluestar. Other Akali leaders were also present in that meeting, he said.
“The former Prime Minister was very brusque and the offended Akali leaders had left the meeting in a huff,” he said. Amarinder Singh said: “Let him (Badal) answer his involvement individually in talks with the Union Government, during those days. Assin baaki gallan baad vicch dassange (We will tell the remaining later)”.
“I have always maintained that Operation Bluestar was a wrong decision as was the killing of 35,000 innocent persons in Punjab during militancy,” said Amarinder Singh. He said Badal must explain on his alliance with the BJP in light of the fact that BJP leader LK Advani had met Indira Gandhi and sought military action in Punjab to crush militancy.
Advani mentioned this fact in his autobiography “My Country, My Life”, said Amarinder Singh. While Tohra and Longowal reached Amritsar when Operation Bluestar was launched, Badal did not have the courage to reach there. He went to Bazpur, Ganganagar, Badal village and finally arrived in Chandigarh on June 8 from where he was arrested two days later.
Refuting this, the SAD spokesman said Badal was at his village when he came to know through radio that Operation Bluestar had been launched in Amritsar.
“It was only after the government lifted the curfew for a few hours that Badal managed to sneak into Haryana on June 6. He reached Hisar and managed to reach Chandigarh on June 8, where he also addressed a press conference,” SAD spokesman said. Badal was arrested and taken to Bhopal in a BSF plane on June 10, along with Surjit Singh Barnala.
Once they reached Bhopal, they were separated and Badal was kept in solitary confinement till March 11, 1986. The spokesman also said it was wrong to say that Badal was lodged in jails for just five years.
Longowal’s letter to Indira’s personal secy
You know Gurcharn Singh’s (Tohra) life is in great danger, so I am writing to you. Jarnail Singh (Bhindranwale) is not going to give up and I strongly feel we have to do what we planned and Parkash Singh Badal has already explained it to you in detail. Most of Bhindranwale men will run away when they see the Army and most probably he, too, will
Amarinder’s poser to Badal
Make it clear whether you were individually involved in talks with the Union Government during the build-up to Operation Bluestar
SAD denies secret meeting with Indira
Badal did not have any secret meeting with Indira Gandhi before Operation Bluestar
Badal had met Indira Gandhi in Delhi, but it was several months before Operation Bluestar and other Akali leaders were also present in that meeting
Source: The Tribune